Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted June 29, 2022We need to fix the name here but whatever. I'm not in the mood for a normal review. Lets talk for a moment about what makes a whisky great. Or more importantly, what makes it special! Bourbon is about this mix of sweetness with this amazing virgin charred oak. That's really it, it's a simple whisky, corn driven, almost all made in the same region, aged in the same region, and that's really all there is to it. So when or why does something become special? 1. Amazing sweet candy notes. The wonderful rich full vanilla's. The amazing caramel notes. 2. Wonderful spices or depth of feel or flavor from textural elements of the grain blends. 3. Insane oak quality or aging magic where the oak and whisky just become some kind of amazing experience. So to this 16 year old, high proof, somewhat generic mash bill? Well, this is that magical blending of good proof, good mash bill, good sweet notes, but most importantly...this brings in this smoked oak unlike anything else I can imagine. And it's so so good! Bottom line this is amazing bourbon and I'm giving it an insane 4.25 and I should go higher. It's one of my new favorite bourbons. If you want more notes it's cherries and apples and cinnamon spice with this magical oak smoked element. Give me more! I'll try and do a more in depth review later but I just wanted to take a moment to express how magical this thing is. I need another bottle. I've nearly killed this one already...only had it 3 weeks. And I keep wanting to pour another one.150.0 USD per Bottle
Redbreast Kentucky Oak Edition
Single Pot Still — IrelandTasted June 28, 2022Popped this open to get a quick idea on what we have here. I'll try and fill more out later. Highlights, it's still sherry and bourbon...so don't be confused by the marketing. The difference is they used a virgin oak cask, NOT charred, but air dried. So there's ZERO bourbon connection here. Other than the use of kentucky and the odd 101 proof. So blatant misleading marketing. Nose - vanilla and toffee. Maybe some nutty elements. Rather nice rich irish nose. Does lack much fruit. Taste - Sweet up front with vanilla and toffee (right off the box), then a nuclear bomb of spice, and then followed by funky over the top wood...more wood...and more wood. Did I mention wood? And not yummy bourbon oak, but raw oak like you'd get on a wine or lambic beer. No char flavors that can add so many lovely elements. More spice. Not aged or mellowed long enough to do much good. This would be one to perhaps blend into some non virgin oak casks, not to bottle as one. I'll leave this as a 1 star, but I'll try and come back and see if anything improves. I'm not hopeful.99.98 USD per Bottle
Belle Meade Reserve Bourbon
Bourbon — USATasted May 8, 2022Since these are going away I grabbed one having never had these 108.3 bottles. The claim is 7-11 year old MGP, a somewhat unique mash bill used by Belle Meade if my memory is serving me. Nose - Doesn't smell that old. Reminds me of the corn notes on a 5 year MGP. I do get some cherry, bit of nice vanilla, tame alcohol, and I'd say an almost lightly toasted oak (not a toasted barrel). Taste - Ok a bit of bitter chocolate, distinct minty rye, there's a bit of a green vegetable MGP note, good spice. Overall, a bit young, a bit hot, and very vegital. There's a bit of refinement and some older notes, but they're hidden by youth. Overall a nice big bold in your face bourbon, but doesn't compare to some of the better batches I had before they went to this more consistent profile. I'd say a 2 star bourbon. I won't mind finishing this but I'll likely forget I have it at the same time or I'll just drink it as a cheap "daily" bourbon.60.0 USD per Bottle
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2021
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted May 8, 2022Picked this up today, kinda me accepting I'll get nothing good from 2021 and this is kinda the boobie prize. Not the worst deal ever but with what I spend and the effort I make to get bourbon, a bit frustrating. Nose - This instantly brings me back to classic bourbons. Nice age, at 12 years old comes off while classic intense candied vanilla bourbon notes shine through. A bit of puddy, some shoe shine varnish, touch of cigar ash, and dare I say some chocolate birthday cake? Given the reasonably low ABV the alcohol is stronger than expected, giving a rather drying element to this. After letting the glass sit and settle, I get really rich oakey caramel. Near the end I am getting dark cherries, interesting, but nothing overwhelming. Taste - Thinner on the palette than nose. More alcohol astringency. It is a bit chocolatey, good vanilla, plenty of varnish, it has this caramel and aspartame and oak thing on the back end. The alcohol bite doesn't go away, and yet it isn't unpleasant. There's a surprisingly alcohol forward. All that said, it's this very classic bourbon with good sweetness, refined in terms of youthful elements, and good oak notes. And a lot of oak, I'm really struggling to explain this almost refined alcohol note that meshes with the oak. Normally, you get a big HOT note from alcohol and then it subsides, if anything the alcohol picks up and builds on your cheeks as the oak waves come at you. Odds are I'm missing some fruit notes here but the oak and tannin/alcohol forward elements are kind of hiding them. I'm sure this will open up over time, but I must say, good bourbon, with some really great classic notes. I'm sad that this profile, which I enjoy, has become so rare that I can fully get why people wait in line for it. I'll give this a 2.5, about an 86 but I could go higher on both. The nose is solid 89 or 90 about a 4 star nose. But the drinking experience does not do enough. I should note a dab of KoK makes this into a glass of lower proof KoK ;) It might be my secrete hack! You know second thought 2.75. In a sane world this would be a 75 dollar bourbon that you could get on a daily basis. We sadly don't live in a sane world anymore.168.0 USD per Bottle
Joseph Magnus Cigar Blend Bourbon
Bourbon — Indiana, USATasted May 5, 2022Always a treat when I get the honor of trying one of these. This sadly is just a sample i received, but I'll do my best here as always. This one is the seven swans a swimming batch 66 at 64.85. This likely is the barton/MGP blend with most likely the 21% rye MGP and I suspect we'll be in that 12-20 year age range. Those are at least my assumptions going in. Nose - Right off the bat this is a distinctly candied and very sweet example of cigar blend. Rye notes do come out, giving hints of smoke, leather, tobacco, and well just regular old rye. Lightly caramel covered apples are here, likely the barton notes. Here I get almost waxy fall leaves, not the generally just fall leaves but there's a bit of a wax over coat. Heavily spiced and some good citrus notes. I'm more in the apples going into lemon zone, but you could argue the spices might remind you of some type of orange influenced spiced product. Taste - Cinnamon and spice...chocolate cake or perhaps some dried pastry, vanilla, oak, leather, apple cider, mint leaves, and yes some grape notes. Very spicy, very tobacco/leather heavy for sure. The overall whisky is very sweet upfront and on the nose. And then really nicely spiced and oaky on the finish. Thinking the "kentucky" bourbon is 14+ year stuff which is really where that distillery hits a sweet spot. Going 3.75 stars. Maybe should be 4? Really exceptional bourbon. But you know me, I'm a hard grader.
Compass Box Experimental Grain
Blended Grain — ScotlandTasted May 2, 2022Apologies, didn't realize I hadn't put some notes on this one. So full disclosure, I'm a bit of a fan of compass box grain whisky, but this one is a bit of an odd ball. It actually contains 31% 11 year old peated single malt...that has to be called grain due to using a column still instead of a pot still. The absurdity of scotch whisky rules. Nose - cotton handy, meets fruits, touch of smoke...unique. Mint is coming out now, white chocolate, fudge, cinnamon spice, and more fudge. Taste - Mint, citrus, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon....layers of complexity and with huge depth. Bit of smoke. This reminds me of a vanilla bomb version of say a nikka from the barrel, with even more complexity and age. Yeah that fruity element with the smoke and vanilla is great. Water brings some nutty elements and seems to add another touch of notes. yeah good whisky. 3.00 from me. I could go higher but I'll be conservative.150.0 USD per Bottle
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye (Fall 2021)
Rye — Kentucky, USATasted May 2, 2022This is really my first time to really spend time and enjoy a handy...a true statement is more ways than one, but we'll move on. Nose - After a good 30 minutes in the glass what was light winter green with christmas spices now gives me some oak funk and just spiced sweet notes. Has plenty of alcohol to give me a big sneeze digging into it. Clean sweetness, some hints here and there of younth, but overall a well refined massive rye sweet bomb. Taste - I'll start with the final real thought. This is a huge mouth watering big bold whisky. It coats the mouth, leaves you with spice for days, and makes no apologies for any of it. That my friends is why one can justify this being a part of that BTAC line. But how does it get there and does it really have the refinement to be BTAC? To come to this conclusion I"m actually going straight to water before I get into the notes. Brown sugar and bitter rye spice give way to sour oak and more spice. Water has unearthed all these more extreme tasting notes hidden by the depth and sugary sweetness of the ultra high abv. Lets add more water. The creamy elements of the mouth feel now give way to more bite, more bitter, more well intense and polarizing elements. My mouth remains coated and my senses are firing at 150% of their tolerance. I know we often wax over flavor memories that a whisky gives us and they are here. All kinds of spices and sugars...oak and funky elements but they all really do come together to create a full and rich experience. And I think that's why people love Handy, it isn't epic whisky in the sense of well aged and refined scotch or even a masterfully balanced bourbon. No, it's a big giant kick in the crotch that leaves you in wow of the intensity and wow factor of flavor. And for this guy, it does it with enough refinement to keep me extremely engaged. 3.5 out of 5. I'm in at MSRP all day on this and I'd go a good 50 bucks over just to say i had a bottle.
George T. Stagg Bourbon (Fall 2020)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted May 2, 2022Got 2 oz of this so this is my 3rd attempt at this. Lets see how this goes. Nose - So this has been poured for about 15 minutes. When I first nosed this it was sweet cherries and over oaked buffalo trace classic oak with a bitter over coat. Now it's straight creme brulee, caramel drizzel, dare I say some kind of chocolate pie, and well some more oak. Taste - Ok tannic, chalky, cherry, big...bold...hot. OK it's opening up a bit. Bottom line is it's good, it's certainly a stagg, but I don't like it more than better GTS's and while the age is there it might have turned a bit while not getting mellowed with age. It is playing very well with water, it's allowed some sweet to come out and hidden some bitter oak, but still something is missing. I'll give this a 3.25, feels awfully low for a Stagg, but this is coming up short. Edit - yeah everytime I come back it starts out WONDERFUL and then the finish goes south, fast, and it doesn't recover. A real shame as this is missing what makes the great stagg's great. Still it's good!
Springbank 12YO Cask Strength 2021 (Batch 23)
Peated Single Malt — Campbelltown, ScotlandTasted March 31, 2022Batch 23 - the 100% bourbon batch! Nose - Springbank has gotten so wonderfully clean while saving that funk and classic character. This all ex bourbon cask holds that so well. Oak, citrus, and classic springbank malt. This isn't a whisky about how many notes it has but it's more just about how well it executes those notes. Taste - Unlike the well executed nose, the taste is anything but simple. It's big bold but has layers. This one opens with sweet springbank sugary cookie malt. Then bitter citrus and a hint of oak. Then the peat comes in, this intense old whisky note comes in (did they top load this?) with intensity of citrus and oak bitters, sugars, vanillas, and yes lovely peat sneaks in to add layers of complexity. Outstanding whisky finish! 3.75 from me on this morning/evening. Not my favorite springbank 12 but this is as well done, executed, and technically correct as springbank gets. I'm loving these recent batches.130.0 USD per Bottle
Springbank 18 Year
Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, ScotlandTasted March 31, 20222021 edition - not sure why we haven't moved these towards year or batch numbers but here we are. This one is 50:50 sherry and bourbon. Nose - Old school sherry giving off grape notes which I adore on sherry casks. Gives me vibes of old world sherry. The springbank is turned back, still sea salt and light baked sugar cookies come through but they're pushed back for clean vanilla and that amazing just outstanding sherry. Taste - The bourbon casks really jump out here. You get sherry and vanilla heavy bourbon and then more sherry. Grapes, figs, raisins, chocolate, perfect oak enhancements, goodness...I can't express how great this is. This takes the second batch from 2020 which was this dirty old school springbank funk bomb and goes the opposite. Almost old school macallan or cadenhead HP sherry casks. Sadly this isn't 100% those epic sherry casks but perhaps we're being saved from our own stupidity as the bourbon plays wonderfully here. Anyway 4.0. Springbank is just getting better. Sadly god knows how many people are going to just buy these to invest.230.0 USD per Bottle